With its huge 4.3-inch screen HTC’s HD2 looks more like a tablet than a cellphone. Apart from its looks, the HTC also impresses with its performance, a smooth touch-friendly UI and connectivity options. In spite of a set of small drawbacks, HTC’s newest phone is a power-packed device.
The HD2 runs on Windows Mobile Professional 6.5 but it also uses HTC’s own SenseUI. It is powered by the same 1GHz Qualcomm processor that chugs inside the Acer neoTouch and has 448MB of internal memory. It offers support for both Wi-Fi and 3G and also provides GPS with A-GPS support.
The HD2’s crowning glory is its 4.3-inch screen that is capable of displaying a resolution of 480x800.
The HD2’s crowning glory is its 4.3-inch screen that is capable of displaying a resolution of 480x800. Strangely, the color output has been shackled to a mere 65K. The phone also has a 5MP camera with dual-LED flash.
Apart from the basic apps, the HD2 also comes with a number of additional helpful apps. These include, among others, a gorgeous looking weather app that also displays forecasts for the next five days, a Twitter app and an app for keeping tabs on individual stocks across various stock markets.
Design & Usability
The HD2’s design will have its share of haters but there’s no denying it- this HTC sure does look impressive. Let’s look at the pros first; the HD2 commands attention and you can be sure you will be garnering a lot of attention with it in your hand. The HD2 might be huge from front, but HTC has done its best to keep it slim. It’s also adorned with a minimalist design but falls a little on the heavy side at about 160 grams. And to top it off, the HD2 feels sturdy in the hand and its body is a mix of glass, plastic and metal.
Coming back again to the screen, the HD2’s display uses every bit of its 4.3 inches. Icons look large and colorful and the onscreen QWERTY keypad is usable not only in landscape mode but also splendidly so in portrait mode. Owing to its large area, the screen does attract a lot of fingerprints and is quite undecipherable under direct sunlight.
Windows Mobile 6.5 might not be the most touch-friendly OS but HTC’s SenseUI works very well to keep it under wraps. Plus, the HD2 is also the world’s first WinMo phone with a capacitive touchscreen. The touch interface is as good and smooth as the one on the iPhone. Scrolling through lists and the main menu is silky smooth and the phone even allows for multi-touch input. Talking about Web browsing, here the big screen really comes into play. The default browser is Opera mini but the phone also lets you browse using Internet Explorer. As mentioned earlier, the multi-touch controls work well.
The phone’s size however does serve as a detriment sometimes. While engaging in single-handed operation, I often found my thumb unable to reach the opposite corner of the screen. Also, the software seemed a bit buggy as at times the alarm clock would refuse to work and I had to restart the phone.
In spite of very good music playback, we expected more from the HD2 in terms of multimedia performance. The HD2’s 5MP camera was quite disappointing. When shooting portraits indoors, I noticed an inordinate amount of noise in the images coupled with unsatisfactory color reproduction and a lack of details. Images shot outdoors also looked washed-out and lacked details. The dual LED flash although is very powerful and low-light shots turned out well.
The HD2’s music player is quite powerful and plugging a pair of headphones into the standard 3.5mm jack lets you tweak the sound around extensively. The sound quality is very good and the music output is sufficiently loud. The external speaker is also loud and clear but you would be better off buying your own pair of headphones for listening to music rather than using the ones that come bundled with the phone. Videos look really good on the huge screen but unfortunately in spite of the HD in its name, it didn’t play 720p videos and neither DivX nor XviD formats. For them you will probably have to install one of the many third-party video players out there.
The HTC HD2’s price-tag of Rs. 36,000 might not suit everybody’s palette but then again the HD2 is definitely not meant for everybody. It’s a premium phone all through and everything from its features, design, screen and performance points in that direction.